The Lingshi and the Cao in the Qin Period
47 , 2015-12-20 , 京都大學人文科學研究所
This paper focuses on the functions of the cao (曹) in the Qin period and its development, mainly drawing on the Liye Qin slips (里耶秦鯵) excavated in 2002. The duties of the cao were discharged by the prefecture clerk (令史 , or lingshi). The lingshi is a secretary of the prefect (令, or ling) or the deputy prefect (丞, or cheng), and composed the core of the prefectural government, which was called the prefectural court (縣廷, or xianting). Under the xianting's order, administrative affairs are carried out by the prefectural bureaus (官, or guan), and not by the cao. As an administrative organ, the cao does not seem to have existed in the Qin period. The cao has never appeared in Qin legal codes, and there are no entries in the list of local officials for members of the cao. However, a similar list at the end of the Han period clearly lists members of the cao. In the Qin period, the cao appeared only in very limited contexts. When officials sent documents, the addressee was clearly marked by the phrase "this must be opened by a certain cao." In another case, compiled documents, such as account books or administrative reports, were occasionally titled "a certain cao's book/report." The cao thus appeared only in such contexts as a label for documents or as a title for compiled documents. It was simply a unit for handling documents. After the middle of Han period, the function of the cao began to change, and it began to function as an administrative organ. This remarkable change was connected with the emergence of the yuan (掾) and shi (史), categories of officials unique to the cao. At the same time, the cao encroached upon the administrative functions of the guan, thus acquiring substance as an administrative organ.